OPINION: Another weird and wonderful year of American sport is almost in the books so it's time for the annual Mitt awards. The best and worst of a year that had no Olympics or football World Cup but plenty to savour and more than one or two head-scratching moments.
1. Oracle Team USA wins eight straight races to claim the 34th America's Cup over Team New Zealand.
2. The Boston Bruins score two goals in the last 31 seconds to win the NHL Eastern Conference championship over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
3. The Spurs had one hand on the Larry O'Brien trophy when they led by three with just seconds remaining in game 6 of the NBA finals. But Miami's Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left to send the game into overtime.
CHUMPS: With their team down by five in the last minute, many Heat fans streamed for the exit not wanting to witness the Spurs' NBA championship victory. But LeBron James and Allen hit key buckets with the home team Heat prevailing in overtime. The Heat fans tried to return but were refused entry and had to listen to the celebrations from outside the arena as their team sent the series to game 7.
CHEAT: Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for his nifty sidestep onto the field to disrupt a kick return by the Ravens. It cost him a $US100,000 fine and his team still lost.
CONFESSION: Lance Armstrong finally cops to what everyone around cycling has known for years. In a strange Oprah interview, he admitted using drugs while seeming more proud than penitent when talking about the mechanics of it all.
COMEUPPANCE: Baseball's Ryan Braun goes down for performance enhancing drugs. Last year he got off by impugning the honesty of a sample collector but this year he got his just desserts, banned for 65 games.
COCK-UP: The Super Bowl blackout. The NFL's showcase event of the year and the lights go out for 34 minutes. Hard to believe a league could make such a mess of a game so long in the planning. Harder to believe that some Baltimore players could believe it was done on purpose to help the 49ers mount a comeback.
CONSOLATION: Adam Scott wins at Augusta to finally break the Masters jinx on Australian golfers. Couldn't have happened to a better guy.
COLLEGE: Alabama's chance to become three-peat college football champions disappeared in the final seconds of the Iron Bowl game against Auburn. With the scores tied up, Alabama went for a 57-yard field goal only to watch in horror as Chris Davis returned it for a length-of-the-field touchdown.
CRIMINAL: Plenty of athletes like to play at being gangsters, but Patriots linebacker Aaron Hernandez took it way too far. The 24-year-old is in prison awaiting trial after the execution-style slaying of his one-time friend Odin Lloyd.
CRAZY: Manti Te'o and his dead girlfriend. It came in the first month of the year but was so far out there that it set a new benchmark for crazy. The Notre Dame football star had spoken about the tragic death of his girlfriend from leukemia. But Te'o had been hoaxed by an acquaintance and the girl never existed.
- Fairfax Media
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